Having only heard Dio's first 5 albums the latter 5 were somewhat of an undiscovered country for me. Holy Diver to Lock up the Wolves were all extremely consistent (albeit with varies in tone) and was a well of excellent hard rock music. Now delving into the later years I find that the quality of the music differs considerably between Lock and Strange Highways.
Unsurprisingly it sounds similar to Dio's brief reunion album with Black Sabbath, Dehumanizer. It is very heavy and very un-radio-friendly. But it is also not very good either. This is a shame because for 5 albums they have produced really great, albeit uncool and non-commercial, music. Most of the 11 tracks on Strange Highways are pretty thick and boring. Usually you can count on a rousing opener and an epic title track. Neither are as good as their forebears here, although the title track is not bad. Sadly the best track is not even much to write home about. 'One Foot in the Grave' has possibly the catchiest chorus and most interesting composition of anything from the album. But it is still only good at best.
It is not awful, it is just very average and not at all exciting for an album that sounds like it really should be.
A disappointment - now onto Angry Machines...